Water-soluble polymers with high viscosity are frequently used in the design of sustained-release formulations of poorly water-soluble drugs to enable complete release of the drug in the gastrointestinal tract. Tablets containing matrix granules with a water-soluble polymer are preferred because tablets are easier to handle and the multiple drug-release units of the matrix granules decreases the influences of the physiological environment on the drug. However, matrix granules with a particle size of over 800μm sometimes cause a content uniformity problem in the tableting process because of the large particle size. An effective method of manufacturing controlled-release matrix granules with a smaller particle size is desired. The aim of this study was to develop tablets containing matrix granules with a smaller size and good controlled-release properties, using phenytoin as a model poorly water-soluble drug. We adapted the recently developed hollow spherical granule granulation technology, using water-soluble polymers with different viscosities. The prepared granules had an average particle size of 300μm and sharp particle size distribution (relative width: 0.52–0.64). The values for the particle strength of the granules were 1.86–1.97N/mm2, and the dissolution profiles of the granules were not affected by the tableting process. The dissolution profiles and the blood concentration levels of drug released from the granules depended on the viscosity of the polymer contained in the granules. We succeeded in developing the desired controlled-release granules, and this study should be valuable in the development of sustained-release formulations of poorly water-soluble drugs.